Blurb from GoodReads:
In a kingdom by the sea…
In a secret world where half-angel warriors are sworn to fight demons, parabatai is a sacred word.
A parabatai is your partner in battle. A parabatai is your best friend. Parabatai can be everything to each other—but they can never fall in love.
Emma Carstairs is a warrior, a Shadowhunter, and the best in her generation. She lives for battle. Shoulder to shoulder with her parabatai, Julian Blackthorn, she patrols the streets of Los Angeles, where vampires party on the Sunset Strip, and faeries—the most powerful of supernatural creatures—teeter on the edge of open war with Shadowhunters. When the bodies of humans and faeries turn up murdered in the same way Emma’s parents were when she was a child, an uneasy alliance is formed. This is Emma’s chance for revenge—and Julian’s chance to get back his brother Mark, who is being held prisoner by the faerie Courts. All Emma, Mark, and Julian have to do is solve the murders within two weeks…and before the murderer targets them.
Their search takes Emma from sea caves full of sorcery to a dark lottery where death is dispensed. And each clue she unravels uncovers more secrets. What has Julian been hiding from her all these years? Why does Shadowhunter Law forbid parabatai to fall in love? Who really killed her parents—and can she bear to know the truth?
The darkly magical world of Shadowhunters has captured the imaginations of millions of readers across the globe. Join the adventure in Lady Midnight, the long-awaited first volume of a new trilogy from Cassandra Clare.
BE AWARE, THIS REVIEW DOES CONTAIN SPOILERS!!!!!
This book was a lot of things- gripping, moving, exciting, hilariously funny, and interesting in the way it pitched a ‘cold war’ scenario between Shadowhunters (i.e demon hunters) and an aloof, calculating Fae Folk. Clare’s world building is both sophisticated and immense. I looooved the Los Angeles setting too- so cool!
A lot of the tension derived from the (seemingly ever increasing) sexual chemistry between ‘parabatai’ Shadowhunters Emma Carstairs and Julian Blackthorn, although at times this felt a bit ladled on for me- I mean, did it have to be ALL ABOUT Julian and Emma? Having said that, Emma was refreshingly self-assured, brave and bold, and I loved her fight scenes, whilst Julian was quieter, more thoughtful, but a little too angsty and woebegone for my liking. By the end of the novel, I was kind of like, ‘Oh, just get together already, who cares.’ Parts with Julian caring for his fragile uncle also dragged for me- I wanted more fight scenes, dammit!
I thought that at times there seemed to be no end to Julian’s many Blackthorn siblings- they seemed to pop up like mushrooms overnight. (Having said that, I do have a soft spot for Drusilla.) I also thought that (SPOILER) the romance between half-Faerie half-Shadowhunter Mark Blackthorn and fellow Shadowhunter Cristina was rather forced. I mean, WHY, when Mark and Kieran- the Faerie lord who is clearly besotted by him- have such electric ‘I WANT YOU BUT I HATE YOU BUT I WANT YOU PLEASE WANT ME BACK’ chemistry? I am truly #TeamMarkan (or #Kierark??) all the way, and I really hope Kieran takes more of a centre role in the sequel ‘Lord of Shadows’ (release date: April 2017.) I found him fascinating- he may just end up being a Literary Hero of the Month (#LHOTM) at some point- even if he is pretty mean and scheming. (He only does it because he loves Maaaaaark!!! THEY NEED TO BE TOGETHER!)
And speaking of togetherness, WHY OH WHY were my favourite ‘ultimate Mortal Instruments lesbian couple’ Helen and Aline not in this novel either? (SPOILER) I know Helen is meant to be exiled and all, but I feel it could really have benefited from a strong, healthy and happy lesbian relationship, to take some of the intensity off the angst-fest that is currently #Markan. (MAJOR SPOILER: That ending, for instance…the whole ‘why lie?’ thing…I mean, come on… HOW COULD MARK DO THAT TO KIERAN?? That is so shady. Layers upon layers of manipulation there.) However, one of the main things I still love about Clare’s writing is her love of diversity and her representation of LGBT characters, so major respect for that. It also kind of annoyed me that everyone had to be coupled up, like Noah’s Ark (something that also grated on me when reading ‘The Mortal Instruments: City of Heavenly Fire.’) Parts of it I really liked though:
–Anything with High Warlock of Brooklyn, Magnus Bane
-Malcolm Fade, another High Warlock, was awesome
-Julian’s art studio, with all the whole Blackthorn family depicted as their own Tarot cards (ok, it sounds kinda weird/creepy, I know, but it really works in the novel.)
–ANY mention of Alec, who is one of my favourite characters from ‘Mortal Instruments.’
-Likewise ANY mention of the Mortal Instruments gang
-The hilarious banter between many of the characters
-Mark’s wild ‘Fae’ aspect, even though this felt a little heavy-handed at times
-How completely badass Emma was at fighting
-The character of Kit Rook
-The opening chapter (no spoilers,) which was vividly described
All in all, although some bits of this nagged at me, I really enjoyed this read, and can’t wait for the sequel. Queen Clare rules!
Overall rating: 8 out of 10
Read if you enjoyed: Cassandra Clare’s ‘The Mortal Instruments’, ‘The Bane Chronicles’
This Book in Four Words: Funny. Romantic. Diverse. #Markan